As we profiled Barters Hill last week we thought it was only fitting that this week belonged to the little but courageous Raven's Tower. They were the first two to arrive at BPR and both horses have been a very special part of what can only be described as a whirlwind four years.
Raven's Tower was brought out of Mark Johnson's yard at the Goffs Doncaster Spring 2013 Sale. He was a colt at the time and I think feisty would be the best way to describe him. He was quickly snapped up by Ben's Father-in-law Tim who with his wealth of knowledge in the industry saw something rather special in this little horse. (RT as he’s known) was syndicated out to mainly a group of Tim’s friends all to be known as the Faithful Friends.
After a few months at grass and having been gelded RT came back into training at the beginning of July ridden every day by Tori and it soon became apparent that this little horse had a huge presence and a love for jumping. He seemed to come a light when he saw a hurdle.
He was sent out as Ben's first ever runner with David Bass on board at Plumpton in late September of that year giving his trainer what was (very nearly) a dream start being beaten a length.
The next two runs had the same result with him hitting the crossbar finishing 3rdand 2nd. Then came a day that will always be special to Ben and everyone involved. RT provided the team with our first ever winner at Plumpton. Celebrations were nearly as the same as those matched at Cheltenham last year! This little horse went on to have a superb season.
Winning at Warwick before heading to the Festival in the Fred Winter. To have a horse good enough for Cheltenham was amazing, he ran a gallant 6th again getting us all shouting as they turned for home.
He would go on to win another big handicap at Ascot before the season was out.
RT was the horse that every trainer wishes for in his first season and we will be forever grateful to him.
Fast forward four years and he has run at 3 Cheltenham Festivals 3 Aintree Festivals won 6 times including big races up at Aintree and been placed over 20 times, he has won over £70,000 in prize money, not bad for a horse that cost £2000! Most importantly he has given his wonderful owners some tremendous days out and this season is no different he is having one of the best seasons back over hurdles having won once and been placed in his first 3 starts. We fear the handicapper might have hold of him at the moment, but we look forward to a fun Spring campaign.
He is and always will be an incredibly special horse to us.
It would be fair to say that Tom has been a massive part of this team from day one of his arrival at the beginning of season three.
Tom entered the racing industry at 16 starting out at Charlie Longsdon’s as an Amateur Jockey before heading back to his Welsh roots to Tim Vaughan's yard where he turned Conditional. A talented point to point rider he decided to turn professional under rules riding 24 winners and having some fantastic days, he very nearly tasted Cheltenham Festival glory twice being beaten a short distance both times.
If you ride more than 25 winners under rules you are not allowed to turn back Amateur. Tom after having success in this sphere decided that he wanted the option to remain Amateur so handed in his professional licence and took up pointing again in a major way. He headed to one of the stand out trainers in the pointing world Sheila Crow based in Shropshire, he enjoyed many years of success with Shelia before wanting to take on role where he was more involved in training as well as riding. At the time Zara Phillips was looking for someone to be a right-hand man to assist her with the pointers she had in, this allowed Tom to be more involved in the day to day training of the horses and perhaps leading onto the realisation that he wanted to take his career down a different path.
Tom and Ben had met previously, and Ben was looking for someone to take over as head lad. The yard after it’s first couple of years was increasing in numbers and a knowledgeable head lad was very much required.
Tom's ability to manage people and most importantly his eye for detail when it came to the horses were invaluable, he and Mary (Assistant Trainer 2014-2017) worked as a fantastic team together both young and enthusiastic the yard went from strength to strength over the next couple of years. Tom was able to continue his pointing throughout these couple of years, challenging for the Welsh riders Championship and riding the lovely Silvergrove to be 3rd in the Kim Muir at the Festival in 2016.
Mary left at the end of last season and Tom took up the position of Assistant Trainer, with this he decided that it was time to hang up his riding boots ended his career in style and on a high with a double.
Tom has taken to the role of Assistant with ease, he has been invaluable to Ben and the team and has made the role his own. A man who knows how to have a good time we know that our owners are having a great day at the races.
As we have had a quiet few weeks. He is currently taking a well-earned midseason few days skiing and this has just been posted on Instagram.
Two words UHHHH OHHH!!